Q: I was recently in Bainbridge. A lady was making a flower arrangement with “flowers” I have not seen before. The flower looked like a six-inch tall pine cone on a very thick stem. She called this a pine cone ginger. It was green on the bottom, red in the center and red-yellow on top. I would be most appreciative of any information.
A: It is indeed a ginger: Zingiber zerumbet. The foliage grows to seven feet tall but in late summer green “pinecones” emerge on short stalks at ground level. Each “cone” gradually turns from green to red and produces many small white flowers.
I’m doubtful that pinecone ginger is winter-hardy in Atlanta but it is worth a try. Call your friends in Bainbridge and ask them to send up some roots next spring. Plant them in a sunny spot in sandy soil. Water regularly in summer and mulch heavily next fall. Let me know how it turns out!